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Crits (1 Viewer)

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Gavrushka

WF Veterans
A response to the original poster:

You seem very much like the perfect critic to me, and I do hope when I post work you'll get a chance to read through and comment :)

I've come to this site, at the suggestion of a friend, as I wish to be better than I am now; I have a long way to go...

Having said that, I remember the first time I put my work up for public scrutiny and how I reacted to the helpful criticisms that felt more like a physical assault... I can look back and laugh now, but I was indignant, deeply distressed and embalmed myself in denial for the better part of, ummm, 10 minutes...

...and that was the point I realised just where I was as a writer; it was the point I made the first tentative steps to improve.

Today I celebrate making a mess of things, because I know that people like dolphinlee will come to my rescue and help me be all I can.

We can either learn from mistakes, or we can wrap ourselves in the shallow and pointless comments of sycophants, who may hope to elicit a positive comment in return.

So I've my hard hat on and my medical insurance at hand for when I post work here. - Deserved praise is great, but objective criticism is a far better way to grow as a writer.

I can see I am going to like this site :)
 

Odd Greg

Senior Member
The blind only rarely can successfully lead the blind.

Some critics believe that sympathy is weakness.
Some writers believe they deserve empathy.
Some critics believe the only way to learn is through punishment.
Some writers believe writing is a gift.
Some critics can’t see the forest for the trees.
Some writers are blinded by their own words.
Some critics are cynical and bitter writers.
Some writers are naïve dreamers.
Some critics believe they are judge, jury and executioner.
Some writers believe they are blameless.
Some critics don’t believe in magic.
Some writers only believe in magic.

A good critic is made, not born.
A good writer is made, not born.
Good critics recognize their own mistakes.
Good writers learn to correct their own mistakes.

Writing and critiquing is not war, it is collaboration. The good need not die young, and perseverance does not guarantee victory. A good teacher tells, shows, tells again and tests. A good learner listens, practices, listens again and applies. Neither the teacher or the student is entitled to anything, nor are they perfect. Learn from competent critics and teachers, and embrace the magic of storytelling while maintaining your character and dignity.

In the end, we learn best from considerate and courteous mentors, and we are only able to teach those who truly want to learn. What remains is noise on the playground.

Work hard, and good luck.
 
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Tan

Senior Member
I guess it comes down to it some writers are too sensitive. In my opinion you seem like the best critic that could be asked for. I respect you for it good sir.
Personally I don't mind negative comments, I know I am a novice and it would surprise me if i got mostly positive feedback. I look forward to all my flaws being pointed out, it is one of the reasons I came here in the first place.
 

Folcro

Creative Area Specialist (Fiction)
WF Veterans
I've been a proud contributor to this site for a number of months now. Throughout this time, I have provided numerous critiques for many different writers. These critiques have for the most part been quite detailed and not only very strict, but often catered to my personal outlook on the best way to write. In spite of this, I, for one, have never experienced a writer who has been anything but grateful to me, if not always enthusiastically so (but often very enthusiastic).

Now, I'm not sure if things had improved in the short time between the start of this thread and my joining the forums--- though I can't imagine how this could be--- or if I have simply been lucky or otherwise subconsciously insightful in whom I choose to critique, but I figured I'd let it be known that, for whatever reason, my experience in both critiquing and receiving critiques has been all-around positive: a testament to the good people of this forum.

Disclaimer: I do spend most of my time in the fiction forum, so... maybe we're just classier than ya'll :p
 

Kristopia

Senior Member
I checked out (not posting) for several weeks the forums at Amazon about a year ago, and found that there were far too many people who did not want to hear "You need someone to copy edit your work," or "This section feels a little awkward." Any honest critter got a backlash of flames from the original author (who had asked for critique) and from seemingly numerous trolls coming out of the woodwork.

The OP in this post (and the thoughtful responses afterward) convince me that I've found a place that is primarily full of very thoughtful people, with only the occasional "you hurt my feelings" type. Good to know, as when I post anything and ask for a critique, I will really be looking for honesty.
 

Iris ♥

Senior Member
Aye, I've never seen this reaction before though it does kinda of amuse me, in not an offensive way :p I'm pretty surprised with the said reactions to crits. i'm only a young person that is starting out writing and honestly, I don't think I've ever felt anything negative from any crits
 
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Trygve

Senior Member
I thought the entire point here was to garner constructive criticism. I want to know what doesn't work and why, and I assume that's what others want as well. I find that if I turn something in and then read it later, I see all kinds of things that make me grimace. Probably, most of us are our own worst critics. Still, a little tact can go a long way when someone else points out possible flaws in our work.
 

Diatsu

Senior Member
I find many writers, even myself from time to time post their work not to be evaluated or critiqued, but to be accepted. To be able to go to a place free of all stress and to let their minds flow in a way that truly expresses themselves, in hopes of feeling a bit of acceptance and gratitude.

For example, I used to write on a website called readwave, and from the beginning a kind critique by the name of Hannah gave me words of inspiration, and made me feel truly confident.

However, she began to praise less, and critique more. I found her fixing the same issues over and over, no matter how much I worked on them, I had always failed.

This made me feel small, pathetic, and overall unworthy of posting in a place full of such talented authors. You see, I understood that she only meant well. And in the beginning I truly did appreciate it. However; page after page, I was reminded that I was not as good as I once thought, and it crushed my self esteem into nothing.

The point I'm trying to get across is there are many people who really do want to further their art. But no matter how much they want to get better, and no matter how confident they appear of their work, some people really just need a kind person telling them " I thoroughly enjoyed your piece! I hope you continue writing, I would love to read more of your work." to give them that sense of acceptance and confidence that all students need to progress in their field.

As a way to avoid offending people, the first time I read someone's work I will always praise them, and offer no criticism unless they directly ask for it. Than the next time they post something I will praise them, and offer a small word of advice. "Try working on your descriptions a little more. I couldn't really tell the emotion Mr. Blank was feeling when Mrs. Blank confronted him."

Basically I will ease the person into it, so they can slowly get used to taking constructive criticism, rather than being thrown into it with a person giving them 3 paragraphs explaining as to why their story just isn't good enough. I've never received a negative response while practicing this method, and I would highly suggest you give it a try.

-Jesse
 

Santa

Senior Member
Perhaps I got more comfortable with crits when I began using betas to help me solidify my story. I was used to listening to where I was going off and began anxiously awaiting their ideas. I think if anyone wants to be a serious writer you have to listen to others, both readers and writers about what is good and bad. I believe a lot of writers who ask for crits actually believe they will hear how wonderful their story is and don't honestly expect (or want) criticism about their effort. You will almost never see or hear of those works no matter how many years they are out.

As Ernest Hemingway said, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."
 

JustRob

FoWF
WF Veterans
This is a subject that I, as any other writer, must consider seriously. A very good friend, a member of Toastmasters, a master wordsmith and host of a regular short story telling competition, gave me some well-considered criticism on the chapters of my novel which appear on this website now. I replied with my views on his comments in the manner of discussion that we have enjoyed over many years and he told me that such comments should be met just with thanks and nothing else, which I found interesting. I regard a story to be a fragmented event in which the participants do not normally directly engage. I know an English literature tutor who would dearly like to ask Shakespeare quite a few things about his work to be sure that he isn't misleading his students. This is a forum where something unique can happen though, interaction between writer and reader to make the event more worthwhile for others. I honestly never contemplated anyone else reading my novel but was surprised when I found it so enjoyable to read and wanted to know whether that was the result of the written words themselves or just the thoughts that they stimulated within my own mind. It is possible that in truth my written words will only sit well within another reader's mind if it is similar enough to mine, oddly enough a fact that the novel itself actually debates at one point. I have encountered one reader who has read the whole thing and enjoyed it, but he was that English literature tutor, someone who is capable of seeing deeply into literature of all kinds, so maybe that is my only type of target reader. Elsewhere on this website the issue of writing to satisfy the lowest common denominator of readership has been discussed and there seems to be some agreement that writing is an art with many styles, so not all readers will like all styles. Under those circumstances I consider it quite reasonable to question whether criticism arises from the reader's own style of reading and compatibilty with the writer without in any way criticising the reader themselves. The literary event is a meeting of minds and we should gain the most benefit from it that is possible.

I was educated at a traditional English boarding school in the late 1950s. No doubt you have seen representations of such places in books and films if not experienced them directly. They were said to be character-building although I would say that for some they could equally be character-destroying. Either way the environment was one of perpetual creative criticism and one gave as good as one got. In the end everyone benefited without any ill will. Any who didn't hadn't understood the process.

I accept all criticism gratefully, but I also perpetually doubt that I am understood and have to convince myself that I have been. Criticism without an understanding of its origin, the specific reading event that triggered it, is not so valuable as that obtained from an event that one fully understands, so sometimes I need more to get that benefit and will ask for it. That is not being ungrateful. If I were ungrateful I, like some of the critical readers who have written hereabove, would just let things be and do nothing else.
 

randyveach

Senior Member
I am new on this forum, but I would like to think if someone critiques my submission they are giving me there opinion. If they took the time to read it and critique it, I thank them for their time (maybe ask a question if I didn't understand their point). I would next look at their credentials. If they had an award (or several awards), more than 1000 posts, and if their join date was more than 1 year old.. I would thank my lucky stars they read my submission and critiqued it. If on the other hand they were a nubie, or the posts were less than 100, I would still thank them and go one to another review. Anyone that reads another persons submission and then takes the time to respond should get a "THANK YOU", what you do with there advice, weather you agree or disagree, is up to you. Keep in mind that if you bad mouth reviewers you will quickly find yourself without anyone wanting to review your work. Is that what you really want?

randyveach
 

Crowley K. Jarvis

WF Veterans
This is exactly the problem I have when I speak to my Father.

He is a very very smart man. He learned math incredibly well. Performed in competitions to see who solved problems the fastest. He took an IQ test once, I forget the exact number but it was high.

The problem is, he's too analytical in his thinking. And, exactly, he can correct people and not even know he's being rude or hurting someone's feelings.

He's always right. He's completely correct and rarely makes mistakes. An incredible man in many ways.
But he hurts people's feelings on a daily basis. He has learned to apologize often.

Now, I use him as an example because we can do that if we're too harsh. It doesn't matter if you're right. But if you completely pick someone apart, you've achieved the opposite of what a critique is supposed to do.

Then, instead of wanting to improve, the writer wants to give up. We're all very nice here, and I've seen it. Some of the most helpful people I've met in a long time, but we do like reminders!

Keep up the good work! Build people up instead of tearing them down.
 

JustRob

FoWF
WF Veterans
Yes, constructive criticism is an extremely difficult and easily thankless task and I suspect that it is often impossible, so anyone who attempts it is due all credit, but equally a critic must be prepared to recognise the dying gasps of a hopeless dream not as criticism reflected back at them but a cry for more help. I am a recent newcomer to this website and my reception intrigues me. First the big welcome and acceptance, then I submit the first chapter of my novel and enthusiasm abounds. "Give us more!" I hear, so I offer the second chapter and it dies a death. I have already had my work read by others elsewhere whom I trust and am aware of my probable shortcomings but also my strengths. In fact one old friend is a true wordsmith, a pedant and perfectionist after my own heart. Having studied many of the world's religions he is now an atheist and to meditate he walks through the forest of Silva Rhetoricae sometimes discussing my literary constructs with me there, so I value his opinion as both an expert and a friend. He criticised me about my work strongly at one point saying "I know that you can do better. Your second chapter proves that," so now coming here I am disheartened. If my second chapter is truly the zenith of my writing career then there is nothing left and my hopes are dashed. So be it. It was only a dream that led me start writing anyway and dreams soon fade away. There are other paths for me to walk in my life. That is why criticism must always be questioned regardless of how many awards or successes the critic has acquired elsewhere, because we always struggle to keep on living the dream. You can easily guess that my car is a Honda, can't you?
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
There's some of us here who neither post work nor criticize. We just like to hang out in the discussion threads and provide the pith that lets the sap of wisdom nourish the flowers of our inflorescence. But seriously, probably we should divide the critical parts of the site into grades, like nursery and kindergarten and so on up, until everybody gets the kind of comment they want.
 

Arrakis

Senior Member
When I critique stories, I am always frank, upfront, and dispassionate. With clinical detachment, I meticulously point out the flaws and strong points, then advise on how the story can be improved--no bias, no sugarcoating. When I write negative reviews, I don't do it to pick on the author, I do it to smooth their rough edges. Nothing more, nothing less. In mine personal opinion, you're not doing them any favours by clouding the truth in sweet words. From mine point of view, that's like pampering an offspring; it may make them feel good now, but it's not going to strengthen them in the long run. If anything, it will just inflate their sense of entitlement without actually making much, if any, progress. I have seen this happen many times when mentoring writers; you keep giving them undeserved praise, and eventually their undeserved ego goes to their head. The truth is painful, but lies are poison. I'm not like some critics whom will just straight up twist your head off.

Despite this, however, I am nevertheless held in contempt by many for supposedly being a bully (and many other names that would take too long to list). When in truth, I'm just being honest and logical. [Shrugs] Such is the life of a stoic.
 
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Angel101

Senior Member
I just encountered this attitude, and I've only been back a few days... People who don't want criticism should either say so or quit posting their work online. I don't understand why people take things so personally. It's a writing forum. What do you expect? People to say your work is fantastic and perfect? It's not. No one's work is perfect. We all need to improve. Isn't that why you post it, or is that just me?

What I really don't understand, though, is why other members need to jump in and comment on my criticism. That's not helpful to the writer. Write your own critique. In fact, on other forums there are rules against commenting on critiques unless you're the author of the work that applies. It's good rule and helps avoid arguments and people ganging up on each other. It also avoids people commenting like, "Yeah, what he said."

Sorry, I'm just grumbling... At least I know whose work to avoid. The only upside of the bad attitude!
 

TJ1985

Senior Member
I just encountered this attitude, and I've only been back a few days... People who don't want criticism should either say so or quit posting their work online. I don't understand why people take things so personally. It's a writing forum. What do you expect? People to say your work is fantastic and perfect? It's not. No one's work is perfect. We all need to improve. Isn't that why you post it, or is that just me?

How dare you say their work isn't perfect! Why, of course it's perfect, flawless, and totally without blemish, you're just reading it wrong. That's pretty common when inferiors try to read a truly great work. :p Meanwhile on this planet, some people can take critique and some can't. I know 99.9% of my work could be printed and would serve only to cheapen the paper and waste the ink. That other .1%, it's still bad but it's not *that* bad. (It is, but I'm allowed a .1% variance for my lack of humility.)

I do think some people expect this place is like a hangout for publishers and agents. Get something posted and then hire somebody to help read all the PM's offering seven figure contracts and movie deals. I think that's why rookies have such an aversion to the 10 post rule before posting creative works. It's like we're delaying them from their due destiny with rules. Others see it as a blog to bemoan their lives, and have no interest in learning. I have little use for people who expect me to care about their writing when it's pretty obvious they don't. ;)

The truth for me is, I rarely have to time to crit works properly, and when I do have the time I often worry about pointing out blemishes in a piece the author sees as perfection in pixel form. I do try to, for this reason, minimize the amount I post for critique. It's wrong to constantly post things for crit (admiration) without handing out some admiration for others.
 
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